A federal appeals court in Los Angeles overturned the decision to house homeless people living on the streets of Skid Row in a controversial ruling on Thursday. The judgment means that Los Angeles County will not be legally required to house homeless people in Skid Row.
A three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously decided Thursday that the decision of Judge David Carter, who oversaw the case in April 2020, failed to follow legal requirements. It was determined the judgment to house people in Skid Row was based on structural racism as the backbone of the homelessness crisis. However, there was no standing for this claim, as structural racism did not form any part of the plaintiff’s submission to the court.
Judge Carter’s ruling initially responded to a lawsuit brought by the LA Alliance, encompassing the claims of local business owners and community leaders who alleged that Los Angeles has ignored the growing homelessness crisis. In January 2020, there were reportedly over 66,400 people on the streets in the county. According to the appeals court, Judge Carter “abused its discretion,” and it was due to this error that the Carter ruling was rebuked.
The change in direction addresses only part of the complex lawsuit. The appeals court will reconvene to determine whether the tents in Skid Row should be removed. Judge Carter’s ruling ordered the Los Angeles County to provide shelter by October 2021, but this has since been vacated following Thursday’s decision.